Revealed: Can Donald Trump Win The Hispanic Vote?

Presidential candidate Donald Trump may be in position to win over lots of Hispanic voters, at least those voters who lean Republican, in a rejection of conventional wisdom.

The GOP front-runner who just won big in New Hampshire, and who does not use a teleprompter in favor of risky stream-of-consciousness riffs, alienated many Americans and some constituencies in his June 2015 controversial presidential announcement from Trump Tower when he claimed that “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems…When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Trump was apparently referring to drug smugglers and human traffickers, but that unarticulated or poorly articulated message was lost in the subsequent condemnations of his remarks as racist.

Among other proposals related to illegal immigration, Trump favors stepped up deportation on a massive scale, building a “beautiful” wall (with a door) at the U.S. southern border that Mexico will pay for, hiring more Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, expediting the removal of criminal aliens, and prohibiting sanctuary cities. The Washington Post previously reported that “certain specific policies in the Trump plan receive widespread public support.”

Trump also wants to temporarily ban Muslim immigration from overseas into the U.S. until authorities conduct a full security assessment.

In his raucous campaign rallies and in TV interviews, the brash New York real estate mogul has repeatedly vowed based on his job-creation message among other things to carry the Hispanic vote in the November 2016 general election should he win the Republican nomination.

In a survey last fall presumably focusing on legal immigration, Gallup Poll data revealed that two-thirds of U.S. Hispanic residents (whether born in America or elsewhere) agree that immigration should either be kept at present levels or even decreased. However, as Breitbart News observed, Gallup seemed to have buried the lede. “Sixty-four percent of each group of Hispanics want migration to be reduced or leveled, said Gallup, which released the report under a misleading headline, ‘U.S. Support for Increased Immigration Up to 25%.'”

Although that was a long time ago especially in political terms, a Survey USA Labor Day 2015 poll suggested that Donald Trump could win about 31 percent of the Hispanic vote in a matchup with Hillary Clinton (29 percent if Bernie Sanders is the opponent).

In a new poll, Trump currently receives the backing of 38 percent of Hispanic Republicans, the New York Post reported.

According to the Reuters national polling data compiled on a daily basis, Donald Trump currently leads Texas Senator Ted Cruz, his nearest rival, by about 40 percent to 19 percent. In South Carolina and going into tonight’s high-stakes GOP debate in Greenville, Trump is ahead by 17 percent based on the Real Clear Politics average.

The South Carolina primary is scheduled for Saturday, February 20.

In a Daily Beast column, influential columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. warns that it is a mistake to assume that the Latino electorate (at least those leaning Republican) is monolithic, as some political pundits would like everyone to believe.

“…it is in the Mexican-American community in the Southwest where you are most likely to find Latinos lining up with Trump. They’re in red states like Texas and Arizona, and the battleground state of Colorado. There’s a lot they like about Trump, including his independence, plainspokenness, success in business, and disdain for political correctness. They see him as strong and resolute, and not having to cater to moneyed interests since he is self-funding his campaign. And either they don’t buy the idea that he is anti-Mexican, or they don’t care…”

“As a Mexican-American, I can tell you that many Mexican-Americans think that Mexican immigrants who come to the United States illegally are taking advantage—of a porous border, of the social-services safety net, of loopholes in immigration law, and of an insatiable appetite among U.S. employers for cheap and dependable labor. And they’re not wrong about that.That’s a problem. Trump isn’t the solution. But there are some Latinos who give him credit for even starting the conversation.That’s a problem.”

Do you think that Donald Trump can win over a significant portion of the Hispanic vote in election 2016?

[Photo by Chris O’Meara/AP]